There are people who feel at home referring to Miles Davis by his first name, but I am not one of them. When I was growing up, my parents played white people jazz at home—Glenn Miller, Benny Goodman, Dave Brubeck—and it never really occurred to me that jazz wasn’t an indigenous white musical form.

Imagine, then, what I made of Bitches Brew on first hearing. Miles Davis’ breakout album came out the same year I went to college. Its discordant strains and rhythms poured out of a dorm room on the next floor, out of which also floated wisps of odd-smelling smoke from time to time.

Wouldn’t it be satisfying to say that I “got” that music when I heard it in the dormitory corridor, that my inner hipster revealed herself? But the uncool truth is that I thought it was absolutely dreadful. Even though Miles Davis’ earlier albums were revelations when I finally gave them a chance some time later, Bitches Brew set my teeth on edge 40 years ago and it still does.

So, can I dislike a landmark jazz recording, but still appreciate a beer it inspired? Dogfish Head founder Sam Calagione has created a beer to mark the 40th anniversary of the release of Bitches Brew. Like the album, it is a fusion: but whereas the music blends elements of jazz with threads of rock and what would become funk, the beer is a literal fusion of two contrasting beers, an imperial stout and a honey beer.

Sam’s creation—and, unlike the case with Mr. Davis, I am on first name terms with Mr. Calagione—is avant garde, or “off-centered,” as he would put it, but it is not discordant in the manner of its namesake. This particular brew doesn’t hit an off note, and might just creep up on you in a silent way.